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Austrian MPs table draft bill on social responsibility in the garment sector

[unofficial translation of German-language parliamentary news]

SPÖ has [...] introduced a draft for a "Social Responsibility Law". By specifying due diligence requirements for companies, such as risk assessments, it aims to prevent the sale of clothing and footwear produced with forced and child labour (324/A)Compliance with these obligations shall be documented.

In terms of mechanisms to enforce the law's objectives, the proposal provides, in particular, for the possibility of class action lawsuits as well as for - limited - profit deductions for a period of up to five years after market introduction or distribution of a product. The funds would flow into a "Corporate Social Responsibility Fund" aimed to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Former Minister of Social Affairs Alois Stöger points out in his remarks accompanying the petition that clothing is often produced under inhumane conditions while corporations generate huge profits. Not only is this approach inhumane, but it also puts [industrial production in] Europe at risk, considering the corresponding low-cost production, he says. All apparel types including footwear and textiles are to be covered by the law.

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